Rarely do works of speculative fiction involve such world building, round character creation and invoke an utterly riveting story in an artistic combination of intriguing depth; such is the case with J.R.R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings, which is why, for a genre, he has often been named the Godfather, as few live up to his magic, or writing prowess.
Garth Nix has succeeded in doing this with his speculative work Sabriel (the first in the Abhorsen Trilogy), and though he is not Tolkien, by any stretch, he is certainly a talented, innovative and incredible writer who has made such a world in his book that it should be considered a "must read" and a classic.
The stark language and the thrilling story keep the reader in such a state of involved suspense that this world and the world that contains the Old Kingdom could be misconstrued. The protagonist, an 18 year old woman named Sabriel, is truly unique and displayed with the uttermost care by the author; she is an amazing character!
The world involves the constant threat of the Dead to rise from beyond the Gates of Death into the world of Life. Sabriel must learn to battle the unknown evils that continue to stack against her, in the place of her missing father, who is, or was, the Abhorsen: a powerful magic wielding necromancer who fights to ensure that the Dead stay that way.
The book builds in suspense until the pages fly to the climax and beyond...into the next novel of the series.